Esq. Partner • Conway, Farrell, Curtin & Kelly P.C. • New York City • Age: 37
As the youngest partner at the New York law firm Conway, Farrell, Curtin & Kelly, P.C., Heather M. Palmore, Esq., is used to receiving looks of dismay and befuddlement when she walks into a courtroom. Clients and colleagues alike find it hard to believe that the attractive, young woman is a high-powered corporate attorney on Wall Street. “I have had to overcome the perception that youth equates with inexperience,” says Palmore. “I believe it is what you do with the time allotted to you that gives you the experience, not the amount of time.”
True to that belief, Palmore graduated early from high school, raced through undergraduate studies at Cornell University and left Syracuse University with a law degree at the age of 24. She joined Conway, Farrell, Curtin & Kelly in 2000 and quickly became known as the “go to” attorney because of her tenacity and ability to tackle the tough cases. She was elected partner in 2007, the first for an African-American woman in the firm’s 56-year history. Occasionally, she is brought back to Earth by the false assumptions of others. She explains: “I attended a deposition at another high-profile law firm. The receptionist pointed toward a room and said that the outlet was by the door and asked if I needed anything else for my equipment.” When Palmore asked the receptionist, an African-American woman, why she thought she was the court reporter and not the attorney, the woman muttered a feeble excuse and apologized.
She has learned to let go of such encounters, preferring to focus on what is important: trying cases, supervising and advising colleagues and prepping her 8-year-old son, Miles, to follow in her footsteps. “As an infant, he would sit in front of the TV, watch Judge Joe Brown and bang a gavel,” Palmore says. “So I think he is well on his way toward a career in law.”